The EU Council agreed Thursday to update EU Member States’ fishing quotas for 2022 in the Atlantic and North Sea to incorporate the agreement reached with the United Kingdom in December 2021. Following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, fish stocks jointly managed by the EU and the UK are considered shared resources under international law. The Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) between the two parties sets out the terms under which the EU and the UK determine their respective fishing rights in the Atlantic and North Sea.Under the TCA, both parties agree to hold annual talks with a view to determining TACs and quotas for the following year.
The regulation sets out the final total allowable catches (TACs) and quotas for member states in the Atlantic and North Sea, taking into account fish stocks subject to bilateral consultations. Changes to the previous year’s TACs were agreed with the UK in line with scientific advice, and include:
a 53% decrease for Norway pout in the North Sea
a 62% decrease for sprat in the English Channel from 1 January – 30 June
a 70% increase for plaice in the waters around southern Ireland (divisions 7h, 7j and 7k)
a 92% increase for whiting in the waters west of Scotland (division 6a)
a 50% increase in the by-catch for northern prawn in the North Sea, to avoid a choke situation
In addition, the regulation sets the fishing opportunities for anchovy in the Bay of Biscay. The final TAC of 33 000 tonnes is divided between Spain (29 700 tonnes) and France (3 300 tonnes). This update also includes the fishing opportunities for sandeel in the North Sea (divisions 2a, 3 and 4), which were established following consultations with the United Kingdom. Based on ICES advice, the quota allocated to the EU for 2022 will be 86 303 tonnes.
Moreover, the temporary EU quota for cod in Spitzbergen (Svalbard) of 4 500 tonnes has been extended until the end of April. This is to ensure that fishing of this stock can continue, pending a common understanding with Norway for the whole of 2022. Finally, this amendment to the regulation on fishing opportunities takes account of the results of consultations that took place within certain Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs), such as the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), and the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC).
The regulation will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 1 April 2022 and will take effect retroactively as of 1 January 2022.